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The Realm of Freedom in the Human Rights Declaration

Adopted from the book : "Freedom; The Unstated Facts and Points" by : "Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi"

What the commentators of the Human Rights Declaration and philosophers of law have written in books on the philosophy of law about the limitation of freedom are some items. The first thing that has been brought up as the one setting limit on the individual freedoms is the freedom of others. That is to say, an individual is free as long as he does not disturb the freedom of others and does not infringe on the rights of others.

This is the most important argument that the philosophers of law have ever advanced and they have insisted it. In fact, in the Human Rights Declaration, which is like the gospel of the Western law philosophers, it has been emphasized that any person is free so long as his freedom does not interfere with that of others. However, if the freedom of a person would create disturbance for others, then he is deprived of such a freedom. And it is at this point that freedom is limited.

At this juncture, many questions can be posed, among which are the following: Firstly, in which areas and categories do you conceive of disturbance on the freedom of others? Are spiritual affairs also included? Is opposition to the religious sanctities of people equivalent to opposition to their freedom, or not?

The Western liberal thought states: The limitation of freedoms does not include spiritual affairs, and opposition to the spiritual affairs does not impose limit on freedom. Thus, when it is said that Islam regards the one who insults God, the Prophet (s?) and the sanctities of Islam as an apostate [murtad], and for instance, declared permission the killing of Salman Rushdie for acts of blasphemy against the sanctities of Islam, it does not accept and states that it is free to express one’s opinion.

He is an author and he can write whatever he wants to write; you can also write whatever you like. Our question is this: Are the subjects of this book (The Satanic Verses) not an insult on the sanctities of others, or not? Certainly, you cannot say that they are not an insult.

Is freedom of expression so broad that a person on that part of the world could afford insulting the sanctities of over a billion Muslims who love their Prophet (s?) more than they love themselves and are ready to sacrifice hundreds of their loved ones for his sake? Do they consider this act as freedom of expression?! If what is meant by freedom of expression in the Human Rights Declaration is such a thing, then we straightforwardly and unhesitatingly do declare that we do not acknowledge this declaration.

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